A Presentation on the Trade and Development Report 2017: Beyond Austerity – Towards a Global New Deal
December 8, 2017: A Presentation on the Trade and Development
Report, 2017 was given through a video conference by Dr. Ricardo
Gottschalk, an Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD, Geneva. He
was previously a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development
Studies at the University of Sussex, UK where he was the
Director of the MPhil in Development Studies (2001-2004) and
Programme Convenor of MA Globalization and Development
(2008-2009). He has published widely in the fields of
international finance, development and macroeconomics, including
the edited books: "Achieving Financial Stability and Growth in
Africa" (2016), "The Basel Capital Accords in Developing
Countries: Challenges for Development Finance" (2010),
"Inequality in Latin America: Issues and Challenges for the 21st
Century" (2006) and "International Capital Flows in Calm and
Turbulent Times: The Need for New International Architecture"
(2003). This session was organized by Dr. Aadil Nakhoda for his
International Trade students.
Dr. Ricardo Gottschalk began his presentation by first providing an overview of the report he would be focusing on, the key points in the first part revolving around the global crisis of the past ten years, where the economy was seen to be picking up but not lifting off, per say. Next, he spoke of the need for balancing the global economy to make it more sustainable and inclusive along with addressing the displacement of jobs, both in terms of the advent of robots and gender disparity.
The first part of the report focused on the sluggish rate of trade, specifically in the years 2008 and 2012, where the regions coming out of recession were studied. This led to the need for the creation of austerity policies, to address the global dilemma. With the aid of bar graphs and charts, Dr. Ricardo addressed the measures taken for crisis recovery from 2016, where he showed that capital flows to developing countries were still negative.
The second part of the report focused primarily on the themes of employment, in light of the advent of industrial robots, the issue of gender disparity in the workforce and the trend of financialization, along with that of corporate power. He spoke of how the introduction of industrial robots led to job displacement and wage erosion in the manufacturing sector, using graphs to show how these robots are economically and technically feasible. Countries with strong manufacturing sectors are labelled as more developed countries. Through automation and robots, those with large manufacturing sectors are concentrated in well-paying activities.
For the issue of gender dimension and inequality he spoke of how in the past 15 20 years, womens employment went up and men’s went down. While women are getting more jobs, they are excluded from good jobs in manufacturing sector as opposed to the services and primary sector.
Next, speaking of the trend of financialization, he recorded 91 crises leading to rising inequality he also charted the trend of inequality leading to less consumption, which led to the creation of austerity policies. On the issue of corporate power, he spoke of rentier capitalism to explain why profits and assets are concentrated in the hands of large corporations. Using the examples of China, India and Brazil, he addressed the relation of the implementation of patent reforms and sales growth.
He concluded his talk by looking to ways of addressing the issue of global inequality, through propositions of more representation in the international community and more democracy to address imbalances. During the question/answer session, students raised concerns over the measures being taken to address employment which came about because of the presence of robots, to which he said that robots must be looked at as a technological revolution and this must in turn lead to proverbial policies and the creation of jobs in other sectors. Lastly, he spoke of how this would lead to a fostering of creativity and would hence be beneficial to the job market.